Adria Mobil and TECOS together create biocomposite spacers 18:05:2021

TECOS is increasingly focused on sustainable development and the circular economy, which would ensure the transfer of such principles to partner companies. Together with Adria Mobil, the leading manufacturer of leisure vehicles, we want to achieve just that; ensure a lower carbon footprint by using more environmentally friendly and sustainable materials.

Adria Mobil d.o.o. is one of the leading European manufacturers of leisure vehicles. The core activity of the Adria Mobil group is the development, production and marketing of caravans, motorhomes, vans and mobile homes, complemented by their other leisure and travel services. Adria Mobil is recognised in the caravan industry as one of the more environmentally conscious companies, as evidenced by, inter alia, the green choice of its suppliers of interior design, furniture and components for trailers and campers located in their immediate vicinity. This takes care of a lower carbon footprint, as the components make a shorter journey from the supplier to production and final installation. With the development of a new generation of campers, Adria Mobil has further strengthened its strategic commitment to the green transformation of the company by developing its own more environmentally friendly vehicle components, reuse of its own waste and reducing the carbon footprint by installing new products made of recycled municipal plastics and discarded newspapers.

By bringing together Adria’s green vision and TECOS' (bio)composite development activities in circular economy and environmental impact analysis (LCA) in 2018, we actively started to develop more environmentally friendly components for their campers. Globally, around 400 million tonnes of plastic products are produced each year. Due to a short lifespan (half of which are intended for single use only), a vast amount of plastic waste is produced; only a small amount is recycled with the majority being landfilled or thermally incinerated.

In order to increase the use of recycled materials, we started the LIFE CEPLAFIB project; designing composite material made from recycled municipal plastics and fibres of discarded newspapers. The development of materials was based on the determination of the appropriate proportion of composite components, the type of binding agents and the addition of modifiers to improve impact toughness.

Simultaneously with the development of the material, the development of the product construction also took place, i.e. a support spacer for lifting the walking part from the body floor in the renewed edition of Adria Mobil's Coral and Matrix motorhomes.

For this purpose, we carried out an inventory of material data, entered them into plastic injection simulation software and checked the mechanical suitability of the spacer with solid MKE calculations and then a few iterations and modifications to the construction of the product to ensure sufficient mechanical strength. After the final design has been confirmed, we have started to build tools and manufacture tool inserts. The first, smaller batches of injection molding confirmed the appropriate processing of the composite, and the sheer precision of the manufacture and dimensional accuracy was confirmed by 3D scanning of the products and measurements. About 50,000 spacers have been made for Adria Mobil since the beginning of the project, and after the project completed and the serial production started, the annual production is estimated to have been around 150,000 pieces. One of the first pilot tests of the injection can be seen in the accompanying video below. As TECOS and Adria Mobil plan to futher work together on sustainable materials and eco-design solutions for their final products, the success is not solely linked to the life of the CEPLAFIB project.

 

Speaking about working together:

Klemen Kolenc, Head of R&D at Adria Mobil:

“Working with TECOS on the CEPLAFIB project can be described with only one word: excellent. Time and again, I am pleasantly surprised by their expertise, responsiveness and professionalism. Without them, the project would certainly not have been as successful. In particular, I would highlight the excellent coordination, which ensured that all partners were able to focus exclusively on the tasks where we are strongest. We look forward to further cooperation and new successes."

 

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